AOPA Outlines Leadership Search And Revenues
Current AOPA President and CEO Craig Fuller announced in February that he would resign as soon as a suitable replacement could be found and AOPA chairman Bill Trimble has now described the kind of individual the association is seeking. In an open letter to AOPA members, Trimble said the candidate "must be a passionate outgoing aviator who believes in the critical value GA brings to our country and citizens." That individual must also be experienced in business and "able to articulate and fight for our cause" in the Capitol and nationwide. Trimble notes that the post-9/11 political landscape means AOPA must work with more agencies and defend against more regulatory threats. He noted the rising cost of flying for AOPA members and factors that negatively impact AOPA revenues.
Trimble reminds members that AOPA membership dues "remained unchanged" from 1990 until 2010, when they increased by 15 percent, and notes that the consumer price index "increased 76 percent" over the same period. Trimble says dues make up less than a third of AOPA revenue and other revenue streams, like ad sales in the association's magazines, suffered with the economic downturn. AOPA has "worked hard to bring down" operational costs, according to Trimble, without sacrificing its advocacy and pilot support activities. He says AOPA is holding $80 million in reserves that are "invested in a diversified portfolio." Those investments "provide $3.2 million in revenue that we do not need to harness from membership dues or other activities," and also leave the organization ready to flight battles "such as we saw at 9/11 or with user fees" on a national scale. In closing, Trimble stresses that AOPA will "focus on keeping this generation in the air and providing the opportunity to allow our children to experience the joy of flight." The full letter is online here.